Tail of two squirrels

Squirrel Chase SUS-160113-115814001
Squirrel Chase SUS-160113-115814001

A St Leonards man has been chronicling what could be a burgeoning affair between a grey squirrel and a rare white squirrel in St Leonards.

David Pulley says he has been watching the interaction between the bushy tailed pair, in the Harley Shute area for the past two years.

He said: “These two squirrels, a grey and an albino with its pink eyes, happily sit side by side foraging amongst the grass and dead leaves of a damp January afternoon.

“Are they just good friends or an item? I saw them on January 11, but two weeks earlier, and just two days after Christmas, they could be seen chasing each other playfully through gardens and up and down the leaf bare trees.

“Squirrels mate in the winter, and you can often see males chasing females up, down, and around trees.

“ In this case the grey, presumably the male, was chasing the albino for at least ten minutes and watched by another grey and a number of pigeons.

“Did he catch her? Who knows but this week they look good friends.

“The albino has been seen here for the past two years and last year it was joined by a second.”

It is estimated there are three to five million grey squirrels in the UK and one in 100,000 are born albino - meaning there could be less than 50 in the wild at any one time.

Albinism is due to gene mutations which affect the production of pigmentation.

Rarer still are white squirrels that have black eyes, rather than the pink eyes of albinos.

There are only a handful of greys in Britain suffering from leucism – a mutated gene which turns them white but keeps their eyes black.

This means they don’t suffer the sight problems associated with albino squirrels, which have pink eyes.

Have you spotted or photographed any white squirrels locally? If so share the pictures with us.

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